Antlers hero Suzuki downs Gamba

Antlers hero Suzuki downs Gamba

Gamba Osaka stumbled out of the blocks in their 2016 MEIJI YASUDA J1 League season opener with a 0-1 loss to Kashima Antlers.

Spectacular scenes at the J.League debut of Suita City Football Stadium made way for a physically intense match, which started with Gamba’s ace strikers Takashi Usami and Patric on the bench.

But while Japan international Usami eventually came on midway through the second half, it was 19-year-old substitute Yuma Suzuki who was the difference maker with his 72nd-minute goal.

“We were having trouble moving up front, so I thought I just needed to come on and try to make my way past their defenders,” Suzuki said after the match.

Gamba will return to Suita on Wednesday to host A-League side Melbourne Victory in the AFC Champions League.